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Clara Kasser-Tee shares solutions on how to approach 2020 elections amid Covid-19 pandemic

A guy casts his vote at a polling station all through presidential elections in Accra December 7, 2012. Ghana prolonged voting in its presidential election into a 2nd working day, officers explained on Friday, just after a rash of complex issues prevented hundreds of people today in the West African condition from casting their ballots on time. The choice was broadly acknowledged by political parties and voters, who hoped the poll would entrench Ghana’s status as a bulwark of democracy and development in a area much better recognised for civil wars, coups and corruption. REUTERS/Stringer (GHANA – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) – RTR3BBZF

Legislation lecturer, Clara Kasser-Tee, on Thursday took aspect in the very first series of lunchtime Zoom seminars known as “Law in Crisis” organised by the College of Ghana Legislation College.

The seminars interrogate the impression and legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic on Ghana’s authorized technique and democratic establishments, as properly as take a look at avenues for authorized innovation.

The sequence commenced on Thursday, April 30 and will operate every Thursday until June 11, 2020, at 01:00 PM GMT. It will attribute various authorized and governance gurus.

The subject for the maiden version was The Electoral Commission, Elections, & Pandemics: Pathways for Progressive Election Resiliency Measures. Speakers incorporate Kofi Abotsi, Chris Nyinevi and Thaddeus Sory. Dr Abdul Bassit Aziz Bamba was scheduled to communicate but he later on dropped out.

Right here is a summary of Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee’s contribution. She spoke only on the challenge of the EC and elections and pandemics.

The mandate of the President and Vice President routinely terminate, by procedure of legislation, after the 4-yr mandate, i.e January 6, 2021. The Structure does not let for an extension of their mandate except through elections. It is automated. There are no exceptions, not even war or point out of unexpected emergency.

Now, what happens following their tenure has expired is uncharted territory, indicating, it is a minefield for lawful and judicial gymnastics. It will become a subject of thoughts. Now, you have to question yourself, do you want the rule of regulation, or do you want “the rule of Lawyers”, as H Kwasi Prempeh places it?

Now, know that human beings are not angels, so you are not able to hope to develop a minefield for lawful and judicial gymnastics and hope that it turns out specifically as you want it to. It may perhaps or it may well not. All over again, uncharted territory.

Which is your ideal situation state of affairs and which is your worst scenario state of affairs?

My look at is this: We must rally spherical our place and our democracy at this place. Of course, we do not have a perfect democracy, but so lots of people sacrificed for what we have now. Some others compensated for it with their life. So in spite of our distinctions, lets maintain what we have – our region and our democracy.

What do I think?

We know the Covid-19 protocols. So it is neither unattainable nor impractical to have elections whilst observing these protocols and keeping our people today secure. A number of speedy solutions:

1. We need to prepare for worst situation situation – that the pandemic may well not be over or may perhaps have worsened.

2. We will have to rally round our region in spite of our variances with a person purpose – have our elections.

3. All democracies are confronted with the exact Covid-19 dilemma, so we can see how other individuals are planning, and modify in accordance to our possess unique conditions with just one intention: keep the elections, and be certain that election 2020 is free of charge, good, available, and secure.

4. This is time the EC can get started making consensus and eradicate pointless friction exactly where this can be done without having and affecting its job

5. Keep the outdated sign up and revise identical. Time, logistics, figures and so on are the important pinpointing variables. So let us not get started comparing apples and oranges.

6. Do limited registration – a whole lot of the people who will be subject matter to restricted registration are possible to be to start with time voters. A substantial quantity of these first time voters are pc babies who have cellular telephones. See how to function with the NIA, Passport business office and any other state institutions who have biometric facts of men and women and make provision for online registration in which feasible. I am no IT man or woman, so I depart this to our talented IT citizens to see how this can be accomplished.

7. Polling stations should be open for people who are not able to have accessibility to online registration. So we have to discuss how to make polling stations open and protected for voters and election workers alike, and they need to acquire steps to guard versus very long traces and mass confusion.

8. Polling areas should be equipped with soap, drinking water, and drying products and an alcohol-dependent hand sanitizer, and so on. Get the Health experts associated on how to do this.

9. Modify polling spot siting conclusions to account for Covid-19, etc

10. System for vulnerable communities and disabilities

11. Sanitize polling stations to avert transmission of the virus. This to be led by health protocols

12. Have election month

13. Aggressive public instruction

14. EC to seem into its CIs to see if it requirements to move a CI to cater for the election in the occasion the pandemic is not above.

15. Increase polling stations

16. The Courts to be ready to offer expeditiously with election similar disputes

17. Add your own in the comment part

Summary: Every person has had to alter programs and make changes on the account of the pandemic. EC must do exact to make certain it carries out its sacred constitutional mandate. This is where all sectors appear alongside one another to get the job done jointly to provide a prevalent final result – totally free, honest, accessible elections in spite of Covid-19.

Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee is Taking care of Associate, Kasser Legislation Firm and Lecturer at GIMPA.

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